The Spectrum of Power


The Spectrum of Power, Exercise on Oppression

To oppress means “to submit to excessive and unjust authority, to persecute by measures of violence”, “to hinder the expression of a feeling, an idea, etc.", or in a literary register, “to be overwhelmed, burdened”.

Participants identify what they are and what they are not, compared to those who exercise power in our society. Using the topics proposed in the spectrum of power 1, they can identify potential sources of oppression that could be experienced by an Aboriginal woman, a black youth, etc.

They can then assess their vulnerability concerning oppression, those found farther away from the center, far from the wheel of privileges, will possibly encounter more situations of oppression.

This exercise can help participants identify and situate the dangers of oppression experienced by women and girls of Canada’s First Nations. They will be able to notice that several situations are possible, and will be more aware.

Inspirations for discussion
How many of the aspects which represent me are different from the dominant identity (pale blue section)?
Which aspects can not be moved or changed?
What are the connections between the different forms of oppression?

Indigenous peoples have the collective right to live in freedom, peace and security as distinct peoples and shall not be subjected to any act of genocide or any other act of violence, including forcibly removing children of the group to another group.

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

1.Inspired by: Source: Barb Thomas, Doris Marshall Institute. Adapted from Lee, Letters to Marcia, as cited in Arnold, (1991).